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All reviews basque country iriarte jauregia beautiful hotel superior room stunning views rolling hills high quality glass of wine small village his wife three nights fresh fruit en route tasting menu attention to detail off the beaten track bar menu
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14 - 19 of 474 reviews
Reviewed 11 October 2017

We were on our two month annual vacation of Europe and decided to stay relatively near to San Sebastián - some 30km away by car. As a top reviewer for Trip Advisor I believe in being honest and well balanced in my reviews otherwise what is the point.

The satellite navigation system got us very near to the hotel and the excellent hotel signage did the rest - well done for this.
I drive a big Jaguar XJL car and have to say at times was a bit concerned, some of the roads are a bit narrow and some other drivers show no courtesy whatsoever for new comers.
However we made it ok with a slightly raised blood pressure and white knuckles from gripping the steering wheel - not for the faint hearted!

The position of the hotel is totally breathtaking - like something out of a film set - truly beautiful, the mist swirls around the hill tops and cattle grazing with cow bells - it is absolutely magical, but take note that there is nothing else there - it is pretty remote!

The hotels car park is not big but adequate. Our first view of the hotel was not disappointing in any way - sprawling lush lawns with winding pathways and the tremendous backdrop is the hotel itself, it really is the most wonderful building from the outside and the owners have done a tremendous job - we did not know it at the time but the suite that we had booked for a few days has three balconies - all overlooking the front of the hotels grounds - how special is that!

One very small point, at this time of year there is much leaf fall and the main paths could do with regular sweeping as they are quite slippery guest welfare is paramount, or should be.

As we entered the hotel we knew that the quality and attention to detail would be good, the covered entrance with its mix of old stone and timber against modern plate glass and stainless steel is good - very good, someone at this hotel has a keen eye for design and quality.
As we entered the hotel itself we were met with this wonderfully calm decor and sense of tranquility - aesthetically this truly is a special place.

Reception was very polite and efficient, however I personally prefer a much warmer greeting, but I feel that the language issues did not help - having said that this hotel was our 13th that we had stayed at out of 16 booked for our vacation and we have had no problems elsewhere in France, Spain, Portugal - to be clear the greeting was business like and professional but we were on holiday and I just felt that it lacked any real welcome and warmth.

The young lady on reception is very pleasant indeed but she was on her own, therefore there was no offer of assistance with our luggage of which we had much as we are away for two months, so thank goodness for the lift/ elevator, also we were not shown around our extensive suite - this would have been a nice touch and an opportunity missed on customer bonding.

Our suite was truly delightful, decorated in wonderful neutral shades with tremendous lighting and again the beautiful mix of highly modern and old - which works so very well when done right - and believe me this hotel does understand interior design.
The three balconies that I mentioned earlier allow light to stream into this massive area and we instantly fell in love with it - from the full length glass dining table and chairs to the wonderful wooden floor - it is a wonderful lounge area- truly enchanting.

Our Bedroom was equally as good as the lounge - with a fine eye for detail - simply beautiful.

There is a full pillow menu which is always a great touch - the trouble was that when later we asked for two memory support pillows they didn't have any left - it is simply no good offering such a service if they cannot fulfil their promise.
The bed also unfortunately was not as comfortable as I would have hoped for and made my back ache. The lighting was great - we totally loved the look and feel of the bedroom - the sleep quality however could have been a lot better as I ended up with an aching back and a stiff neck - it is better that the hotel owners know this.

The dressing area and bathroom do not disappoint in any way, high end fittings and immaculately clean throughout whoever is in charge of housekeeping does the most amazing job, thank you so much, although for some reason our suite did not get cleaned on the Sunday - leaving me to have to ask for towels, toilet rolls, coffee capsules etc - not good for a four star hotel, in fairness they did ask late in the day if we wanted it cleaning but what was the point.

The whole hotel, restaurant, bar, library area and lounge look wonderful as is the fabulous landing and have been restored and decorated to a very high standard indeed - the whole internal/external setting of this hotel is a true delight.

Our adult daughter is true vegan of many years and should be respected for her choice, my wife is total vegetarian and the same applies, we had been assured on booking many months prior that this would be no problem, however upon enquiring at reception it obviously was a major problem as was room service - which we tend to use a lot.
We were told that we could of course have room service but only from the bar menu not from the main restaurant menu - why? - well apparently the chef insists that you to eat his culinary delights in the restaurant- that's weird as I thought that I - not the chef was the paying customer!!!

The vegan/vegetarian options are tremendously limited to a point of insignificance - we felt so let down and to be honest it rather spoilt our afternoon, I had driven for over five hours and we were all tired, we had to carry all of our own luggage, unpack, and then faced no food or a salad - great! - believe me the situation and location of this hotel does not simply allow you to pop out to eat elsewhere - you are a captive audience.

The young lady on reception said that she would talk to the chef when he/she came in, - but it was all too obvious that she was a little afraid/concerned at his response - this simply isn't right, I offered to talk to him as the paying guest - this offer was refused but I think my message got through quite succinctly, when I am paying the bill I expect to be looked after - as per the welcome letter in our room.

In the end my wife and daughter ended up with a small amount of rice and the tiniest amount of vegetables imaginable ( pure dressing ) and I had a burger and chips - WOW! - how very disappointing from such a wonderful start.

There is absolutely no doubt that the owners have got the hotel aesthetics totally correct, but the customer care has some way to go - it is a great shame but it is a fact.

We travel extensively, I am a retired CEO of a major organisation and we even owned our own hotel - I think therefore that we have a full understanding of hotels both as guests and owners.

I truly hate pomposity and pretentiousness- we are living in 2017. We truly truly love this most beautiful hotel but feel wholeheartedly that the restaurant and light menu lets it down badly, it is not for the tail to wag the dog - and the dog in this case is the paying guest and should be looked after and respected as such.
It is simply wrong that Vegans/Vegetarians should be almost excluded from the dining areas and as much as we love this hotel this is the one thing that will stop us staying here again - unless of course the owners get a grip of the kitchen and make them aware that Vegans/Vegetarians etc exist and should be afforded the opportunity to eat within the hotel and not treat like second class citizens - it obviously also makes good business sense from the hotel’s perspective bearing in mind that a three course restaurant dinner without wine etc costs around 60€ per person and with wine around 70/80€ per person - not an insignificant amount of money, especially for three people staying a few nights.

On day two we went to San Sebastián and had dinner there - not because we wanted to but we simply had no choice, but remember San Sebastián is some 30/40km away - there is nothing else locally.

Breakfast was in a most delightful room and one of the owners Iban was on duty, we had a long chat to him and the history of the hotel is wonderful, he told us that our suite had once been his parents bedroom - how lovely. Iban is a nice guy, we liked him. We mentioned the food problem that we had but it feels like the restaurant is the total domain of the chef and can't be interfered with - from my extensive experience there should be only one head of any business and that's the owner.

Breakfast was great with the freshest orange juice I have ever tasted and great quality coffee, the variety of foods available was very good and all fresh - we loved it - please Iban make dinner like breakfast - a great experience for all pallets.

As the morning mist clears just after breakfast and the sun hit the landscape it was so incredibly beautiful and we went for a walk - breathtaking and a photographic paradise.

On our last night we were forced to repeat our previous dining experience of rice/salad and for me a burger - it was the only option - not great!

At around 3am on our last night I was not sleeping due to the bed and pillow issues I was musing over this wonderful looking privately owned hotel and it suddenly hit me - that the owners, management and staff need to work much harder on the warmth of their customer focus skills. As guests we simply did not feel truly valued, you do not get the sincere feeling that they want you to be really content and satisfied for the duration of your stay, it feels like you are just another person passing through.
Yes the guest introduction letter says all the right things as does their web site, but it's what happens in reality that actually counts, and in reality we were disappointed.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the owners want the hotel to be perfect in all areas, and it is so near to being so.
We met Loreena one of the owners at breakfast on day two and she is really nice, personally speaking I think that she should be front of house as her friendliness and interpersonal skills are great and her genuine warmth shines through.

I have been in customer facing businesses all my working life including owning our own very successful hotel, you can never beat having true natural staff who simply like people as it radiates through in conversation etc - my sincere advice to the lovely owners of this fantastic hotel is to please spend some of your closed period in examining these issues and doing some role play on customer service - it is so important.

So - the million Euro question - will we stay at this hotel again, the answer is that we would love to but cannot do so until the owners sort out the kitchen and introduce real guest service - if and when they do we will be back as the aesthetics of this place are tremendous.

As a postscript- we spent 1000€ at this hotel for three nights and it could have been more had they allowed us to eat better, but do you know the thing that really got me was that no one bothered to say goodbye or thank your for staying, or hope to see you again - we had stayed in their large suite for three nights as their guests and spent a substantial amount of money and the owners didn't come to wish us farewell - how very disappointing.

And that's just one more example of lack of guest care and warmth - a real disappointment to say the least.
This is not a 500 bed corporate hotel but a small family business, and as such customers/guests really do want to feel valued.

Room Tip: Have the suite its brilliant
  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
3  Thank HappyTravellers222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2017

This is a delightfully unique place to stay from the ancient stone structure to the robot mowing the lawn. Just a delightful place to be with a glass of wine while the sun sets. Food was excellent. Just one heckuva a drive to get there, as we say in the States, "enough curves to break a snake's back," but well-worth the trip. Would most definitely come again and stay longer

  • Stayed: October 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank ChappySumRes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2017 via mobile

What a magnificent hotel! We stayed here for 2 nights, and our only regret is we didn't stay longer. This beautiful hotel design wise, is where two worlds collide - old and new, and it is done to absolute perfection. Your first sight of this stunning place is from the driveway and you see her in all her splendor. Check in was swift and we were shown to our room on the 2nd floor, with views to the front of the hotel. Our room was spacious, with a super comfy bed and everything you would need. We spent the first afternoon lazing in the library with a couple of glasses of wine and just taking in the beautiful decor. We ate dinner in the restaurant on our first night and the meal was nothing short of amazing. The steak was painted in squid ink to give it a "charcoal" look, but did not detract from it being perfectly cooked. Definitely eat here, the food is amazing. Whilst the hotel is located quite remotely, it is within perfect range of many beautiful towns to explore, the largest of course being San Sebastian which is about 35 minutes drive. We spent a day exploring the many towns nearby and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, knowing we had our little slice of heaven to return to. Our 2nd night here was on a Tuesday which is the one night the restaurant is not open, however we ate from the bar menu which had plenty of options to choose from, and again, food was excellent. Breakfast is also of a high quality with plenty to choose from and you can either eat inside the restaurant or outside looking at the views. If we had known how beautiful this place was, we would have stayed longer. Stay here, you will not be disappointed.

Stayed: August 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank NinAndrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2017

We were exploring the area from Santander to Logrono. We have travelled widely over Spain. but this was new to us. This Hotel was quite difficult to find and we were glad it was daytime, but well worth the journey. We were a party of 4 and our friends had upgraded to a Superior room. There was nothing wrong with our room except we were not provided with a Tea tray and we could not borrow a kettle!. In the end I paid for room service each morning - just a little niggle. The views and grounds were superb as was the service. Breakfast was stunning. We ate in the restaurant for two nights but were disappointed that the menu did not change. We felt it should have had a perhaps 3 day change. One night we had the snack menu which was good. We enjoyed the bar and the beautiful decor

Room Tip: ask for room on the back and if you can afford it upgrade to superior room
  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank sbaileyBromley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2017 via mobile

Beautiful hotel in the middle of nowhere. We booked here because they permit dogs (only in the rooms, not in the restaurant or bar). Nice building in a quiet setting and spacious rooms. The food in the restaurant is very good and so is breakfast.

Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank Yvette B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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